By Wezzie Gausi:
The Ministry of Agriculture has said it will start distributing goats under the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) this week.
This comes at a time the ministry has awarded contracts to 63 successful bidders, who are expected to procure 60,000 goats earmarked for the initiative.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu said the contracts were awarded last week.
“As such, we are expecting suppliers to start supplying goats this week,” he said.
Lungu cited procurement procedures as one of the factors that fuelled delays in the goats’ distribution exercise.
The government set price is K7,500 per goat.
“The initial beneficiaries are from the Shire Valley districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje. When reviewing how the AIP faired last year, it was noted that Chikwawa and Nsanje under the Shire Valley Agriculture Development Division failed to produce the expected harvest due to drought. When the ministry consulted the people on what the government could do for them in the AIP, they suggested that they be given livestock.
“So, we are pleased to say that the long-awaited livestock distribution exercise starts this week and we are sure that the process will benefit those intended to benefit from the process,” Lungu said.
He observed that the Ministry of Agriculture would use the same procedures used when buying fertiliser and seeds.
Recently, Nsanje Lalanje lawmaker Gladys Ganda faulted ministry officials for engaging the Department of Disaster Management Affairs officials on contracts related to goats distribution.
Agriculturalist Tamani Nkhono Mvula recently called on ministry officials to expedite distribution of inputs and livestock, observing that time was running out.